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Erie County Legislature Approves Quarter Cent Hike in Sales Tax, Deficit Financing

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The Erie County Legislature voted ten to five Tuesday afternoon to approve a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax. It would take effect July 1st and remain in effect through November 2007.

The State Legislature must now grant its approval. Wednesday's action means the local sales tax would return to 8.25 percent, where it had been since 2002. The state had lowered the tax by a quarter cent on June 1st.

Legislators who opposed the increase were Republicans Michael Ranzenhofer of Clarence, Elise Cusack of Amherst, Denise Marshall of Lancaster and Barry Weinstein of Williamsville, plus Democrat Timothy Kennedy of South Buffalo.

The County Legislature also approved a $130 million deficit bond to close a gap in the current year's budget. Revenue from the higher sales tax will be used to pay off the bond.